What To Hold: 3 Hold-Rated Dividend Stocks SUNS, EDUC, NTLS

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

TheStreet Ratings' stock model projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period including both price appreciation and dividends. Our Buy, Hold or Sell ratings designate how we expect these stocks to perform against a general benchmark of the equities market and interest rates.

While plenty of high-yield opportunities exist, investors must always consider the safety of their dividend and the total return potential of their investment. It is not uncommon for a struggling company to suspend high-yielding dividends which could subsequently result in precipitous share price declines.

TheStreet Ratings' stock rating model views dividends favorably, but not so much that other factors are disregarded. Our model gauges the relationship between risk and reward in several ways, including: the pricing drawdown as compared to potential profit volatility, i.e. how much one is willing to risk in order to earn profits?; the level of acceptable volatility for highly performing stocks; the current valuation as compared to projected earnings growth; and the financial strength of the underlying company as compared to its stock's valuation as compared to its stock's performance.

These and many more derived observations are then combined, ranked, weighted, and scenario-tested to create a more complete analysis. The result is a systematic and disciplined method of selecting stocks. As always, stock ratings should not be treated as gospel — rather, use them as a starting point for your own research.

The following pages contain our analysis of 3 stocks with substantial yields, that ultimately, we have rated "Hold."

Solar Senior Capital

Dividend Yield: 8.30%

Solar Senior Capital (NASDAQ: SUNS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.30%.

Solar Senior Capital Ltd. is a business development company specializing in investments in leveraged, middle-market companies in the United States. The fund invests in the form of senior secured loans, including first lien, unitranche, and second lien debt instruments. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.75.

The average volume for Solar Senior Capital has been 48,900 shares per day over the past 30 days. Solar Senior Capital has a market cap of $196.9 million and is part of the financial services industry. Shares are down 7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Solar Senior Capital as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, expanding profit margins and growth in earnings per share. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Capital Markets industry. The net income increased by 645.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.76 million to $5.63 million.
  • The gross profit margin for SOLAR SENIOR CAPITAL LTD is currently very high, coming in at 72.43%. Regardless of SUNS's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, SUNS's net profit margin of 99.48% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • SOLAR SENIOR CAPITAL LTD reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, SOLAR SENIOR CAPITAL LTD reported lower earnings of $1.11 versus $1.46 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.30 versus $1.11).
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market, SOLAR SENIOR CAPITAL LTD's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$27.11 million or 235.03% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Educational Development Corporation

Dividend Yield: 8.50%

Educational Development Corporation (NASDAQ: EDUC) shares currently have a dividend yield of 8.50%.

Educational Development Corporation operates as a trade publisher of the line of children's books in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 34.91.

The average volume for Educational Development Corporation has been 7,200 shares per day over the past 30 days. Educational Development Corporation has a market cap of $15.0 million and is part of the media industry. Shares are up 22.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

TheStreet Ratings rates Educational Development Corporation as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 11.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.1%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CORP is rather high; currently it is at 61.24%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 6.44% is above that of the industry average.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Distributors industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 4.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $0.53 million to $0.55 million.
  • In its most recent trading session, EDUC has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. Looking ahead, other than the push or pull of the broad market, we do not see anything in the company's numbers that may help reverse the decline experienced over the past 12 months. Despite the past decline, the stock is still selling for more than most others in its industry.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Distributors industry and the overall market, EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

NTELOS Holdings

Dividend Yield: 12.50%

NTELOS Holdings (NASDAQ: NTLS) shares currently have a dividend yield of 12.50%.

NTELOS Holdings Corp., through its subsidiaries, provides digital wireless communications services to consumers and businesses in Virginia and West Virginia, as well as parts of Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.99.

The average volume for NTELOS Holdings has been 462,600 shares per day over the past 30 days. NTELOS Holdings has a market cap of $289.4 million and is part of the telecommunications industry. Shares are down 36% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

TheStreet Ratings rates NTELOS Holdings as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 7.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.7%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Wireless Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market, NTELOS HOLDINGS CORP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • NTELOS HOLDINGS CORP has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NTELOS HOLDINGS CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.12 versus $0.87 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 6.3% in earnings ($1.05 versus $1.12).
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $6.26 million or 68.66% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Wireless Telecommunication Services industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 344.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $0.32 million to -$0.78 million.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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